in 2010 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $15,790 - $18,105
Original MSRP: $29,480 - $37,180
MPG: 14 City / 20 Hwy
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2010 Mercury Mountaineer Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2010 Mountaineer's performance doesn't stand out within its class. While some test drivers said it drives surprisingly well for a truck-based SUV, others found its ride choppy and engines sluggish. Its fuel economy is also pretty bad. However, reviewers said the Mountaineer deserves praise for its 7,040-pound towing capacity when equipped with the available V8 engine.

  • "As modern SUVs go … the 2010 Mercury Mountaineer is mostly outclassed. Its available all-wheel-drive system is matched by every notable crossover SUV, and a crossover's car-based chassis will always trump the Mountaineer's truck-style underpinnings when it comes to negotiating bumps and corners." -- Edmunds
  • "On the straight and narrow, the Mountaineer towed as well as a two-wheel-drive pickup, but pampered us in the process. Where a pickup tends to wallow a bit in the turns, the AWD Mountaineer is more planted." -- AutoMedia.com
  • "Among the best of traditional truck-type SUVs. Mountaineer is compliant, even with the Premier's 18-inch wheels, and devoid of sloppy motions. Some testers say Mountaineer suffers undue impact harshness and body oscillations over low-speed bumps." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 Mercury Mountaineer comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that makes 210 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Available on Premier trims is a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 292 horsepower and 315 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with the same transmission or an available six-speed automatic.

Test drivers said the V6 doesn’t have enough power to handle the Mountaineer’s weight and can be sluggish. For those who tow or carry large loads, they overwhelmingly recommended the V8, which actually gets better fuel economy than the V6 in two-wheel drive models. The V8 only sacrifices one highway mpg in four-wheel drive models compared with the V6, so in most cases, the larger engine is likely the better choice. According to the EPA, 2WD models achieve 14/20 mpg city/highway with the V6 engine and 15/21 with the V8. AWD models achieve 14/20 with the V6 and 14/19 with the V8.

  • "Only V8 Mountaineers have been made available to test so far. They provide ample power, and their 6-speed automatic changes gears smoothly and delivers quick part-throttle downshifts for fine around-town response. Some testers say full-throttle downshifts take too long, however." -- Consumer Guide
  • “The base Mountaineer's archaic 210-horsepower V6 is put to shame by virtually every other six-cylinder engine currently available, and neither the V6 nor the optional V8 comes close to matching the typical crossover SUV's fuel economy." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The majority of reviewers found the 2010 Mercury Mountaineer's handling decent for a truck-based SUV, though it’s not as smooth or maneuverable as its crossover competitors. If you can do without substantial towing capabilities, consider a more comfortable crossover like the Honda Pilot.

  • "Some body lean is noticeable in turns and Mountaineer suffers a delayed reaction in quick directional changes. Steering is responsive and accurate but needs more road feel. Brake pedal action is mushy." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Borrego, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner can all be counted as spiritual brethren. … And for on-road use, the Mountaineer is actually a pretty good pick among this group. But the Mountaineer's on-road bias means you really should cross-shop it against crossovers more than traditional SUVs. And in this case, there are simply better choices than Mercury's rebadged Explorer." -- Edmunds
  • "As mentioned earlier, the ride ‘tune’ is set up softer than that found on the similar Explorer platform, however, we never noticed any marked disparities in handling, with or without a trailer attached. The ride was definitely smooth." -- AutoMedia.com


While fuel economy is a major downside, the Mountaineer’s towing capacity is a big plus. With the base V6 engine, the Mountaineer can tow 3,500 pounds. The available class III/IV heavy-duty trailer tow package increases capacity to 5,305 pounds. With the available V8 engine, it increases to 7,040 pounds.

  • "The one thing the Mountaineer unequivocally has going for it is towing capacity. With a maximum rating of over 7,200 pounds with the optional V8, the Mountaineer can tow as much as some pickup trucks, whereas crossover SUVs typically top out at less than half the Mountaineer's limit. … If you plan on towing trailers or boats on a regular basis, the Mountaineer actually makes sense.”
  • "The all-wheel drive coupled with Mercury's AdvanceTrac with RSC made trailer towing (in sometimes poor conditions) a breeze. Getting in and, perhaps more importantly, getting out of remote boat launches proved to be a piece of cake. Equally important, the flat load space in the rear of the Mountaineer provided plenty of room for fishing, boating and camping gear." -- AutoMedia.com

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